The Unfolding of a Miracle – (Luke 9)

Luke, ever the accurate historian as has been proved time and gain, correctly refers to Herod Antipas as Herod the tetrarch in verse 7 of chapter 9. By this time, Herod has already had John the baptist beheaded, yet these stories of Jesus keep coming to him; and some people were saying that He was John – raised from the dead. Others said He was Elijah, and still others said that He was another one of the prophets. Verse 9 has Herod reassuring himself, but he resolved to meet Jesus face to face. One cannot help but wonder if guilt on Herod’s part has also placed some fear in his heart.

Luke’s account of the feeding of the Five Thousand

Meanwhile, Jesus’ apostles returned from the mission He had sent them on, and reported to Him all that had happened while they were gone. Jesus took them and went to Bethsaida, a town just east of where the Jordan River flowed into the Sea of Galilee. As usual, word spread quickly among the crowds, and they followed them. Jesus preached to them about the kingdom of God and healed those who needed healing among them.

The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida.

The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida.

As the end of the day was coming close, the apostles became concerned for the people, coming to Jesus to dismiss them, so they could find food and a place to stay. But Jesus told the apostles to feed them. Having only a couple of fish and five loaves of bread, they protested the impossibility of feeding five thousand men and all of the women and children as well. Having them sat in groups of about fifty each, he blessed the food, looking toward heaven.  Everyone ate until they were satisfied, and twelve baskets full of broken pieces were taken up afterward.

We are not told why Jesus had them separated into groups of “about fifty,” and speculation about that is futile, since the whole thing was miraculous anyway.  But one might wonder what the apostles saw, as they made sure that the food was passed around throughout what would have to be well over 100 of these groups of people. We cannot know how it all unfolded, but let’s try for a minute to just imagine what it could have been like.

When Jesus broke the loaves, He must have given portions to each of the twelve apostles. One can only imagine their sense of foreboding as they handed their portion off to the first group – no doubt expecting it to run out long before reaching the last of the fifty people in their first group. When that did not happen, and as each of the twelve transferred the food from one group to another, did they see the amount of food undiminished in quantity or was it gradually growing? It seems likely that the latter would be the case.

Imagine that sense of dread they felt initially turning first to surprise, and then to amazement. It is easy to imagine then that the excitement would build into a giddy and festive atmosphere that would be contagious to these crowds!

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  

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